Students and professors from Humboldt University, Berlin visit the Vjosa Research Center

In the afternoon of one of the first rainy days in a while, we were happy to welcome our guests from the Humboldt University, Berlin, to the Vjosa Research Center:

The group of 25 students of Geography accompanied by Prof. Daniel Müller had chosen to visit this facility as one of their first stops along their ten-day excursion across Albania and were very eager to learn about the Vjosa, Europe’s first Wild River National Park.

Olsi Nika, as the representative of EcoAlbania, was glad to introduce the guests to the Research Center: He recapped the campaigning, the ups and downs, the involvement of scientists like Prof. Fritz Schiemer (the namesake of Vjosa Research Center), artists and local communities that had persevered for ten long years prior to this day to finally achieve the protection status that the Vjosa deserves.

During the visit of our guests from Humboldt University, Berlin. (c) EcoAlbania

When asked by a student what the further plans were from here on, Olsi replied that there are great challenges ahead: besides the reinforcement of the protection of the Vjosa and its tributaries, there is the enlargement of the protected area. The ultimate goal is to create the first Transboundary Wild River National Park that includes the headwaters and the spring of the Vjosa (Greek: Aoos) in Greece.

The students were also really inquisitive about the reception of the new National Park by the local residents, the development of Eco-Tourism in the valley and the currently ongoing research in the laboratory, as during their room tour they discovered the equipment that had been set up by a team of groundwater ecologists from the University of Vienna. After a group photo it was time to say farewell to our guests, yet the impression remains that we were inspired by their inquisitiveness and that they will take home a message about the uniqueness of this last pristine river of Europe.